Middle East

Egypt's Mohamed ElBaradei launches Egyptian party

Mohamed el Baradei
Image caption Mohamed ElBaradei at the launch of his new party, which he hopes will take power in Egypt in four years

The Nobel peace prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei has launched a new political party in Egypt.

The Constitution Party marks a return to public life for Mr ElBaradei, who is a former head of the IAEA, the United Nations' nuclear watchdog.

But the new party's launch comes too late for it to field a candidate in next month's presidential election.

Mr ElBaradei said its aim was to unite Egyptians behind democracy, and to take power in four years time.

He told reporters that the new party would be above ideology, and was keen to avoid labelling it as "liberal".

But the BBC's Jon Leyne says it is clearly designed to challenge Islamist politicians who were the big winners in parliamentary elections earlier this year, and who could soon win the presidency.

"Rescue" the revolution

He hopes that it will be able to attract millions of members, and that it will unite the youth groups behind last year's uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, and also to prepare them for a future political role.

"The time has come to start a comprehensive political process to achieve the goals of the revolution," he said, adding that he wanted "to rescue the great revolution that has been derailed and is almost stillborn."

Egypt is currently ruled by a military-backed government which has promised to hand over power to the winner of the forthcoming presidential elections.

In January Mr ElBaradei ruled himself out of running for the presidency this year, saying a fair vote would be impossible in such a chaotic transitional period.

Enthusiastic supporters of the Nobel laureate gathered outside the news conference to show their approval of the new party.

Our correspondent says there was an impressive turnout for the launch.

That suggests he may have found a formula that could begin to unite the many different groups who led the revolution last year, but have since lost out in the race for power.

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